More on turnout

An article in National Journal wonders which side’s polls reflect reality, but also wonders if we’re all hypocrites:

And while voters tell pollsters they hate politics and politicians, their actions don’t tell the same story. One prominent Democratic pollster suggested a counterintuitive cause: The explosion of cable-news channels means politics is available all the time; the constant, unceasing news cycle keeps people engaged; the increased polarization of the electorate means voters identify more closely with their party, their team; and the proliferation of absentee ballots and early-voting access makes it easier than ever to vote. That which voters say they hate most may actually be what’s keeping them engaged.

They may have a point.  Turnout has risen steadily over the last several cycles.  Bush really surprised Democrats in ’04.  Obama didn’t really surprise the GOP in ’08, except in the sense of how badly (and in a few cases, where) he beat us.

Year Votes (in millions) Turnout %
2000 107 55%
2002 80 41%
2004 123 61%
2006 86 41%
2008 132 62%
2010 90 42%

In American politics, the side the innovates in one cycle is quickly copied by the other.  We’ll see how turnout goes.  The GOP will be up, independents favor Romney, so BHO will have to repeat or beat his ’08 performance.

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